EC clears Tronox acquisition of Cristal with minor remedies after Phase 2 investigation 05.07.18
Both parties are active primarily in the production of titanium dioxide pigment. After a wide-ranging investigation, the Commission’s coordinated effects concerns were ultimately dismissed, and remaining issues were limited to horizontal unilateral effects in one relatively small product market. RBB prepared a number of economic submissions and gave evidence at an oral hearing, working alongside law firms Kirkland & Ellis and Cleary Gottlieb. RBB also assisted Tronox with merger inquiries in Australia and New Zealand, where unconditional clearances were granted after detailed investigations, as well as in China, South Korea, Canada, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
Sky acquisition by Comcast gets unconditional Phase I go-ahead from the EC 05.07.18
The Commission’s analysis centred on vertical issues, including whether Comcast (owner of NBC Universal) would be able to foreclose Sky’s competitors by preventing or limiting access to its content or TV channels, as well as whether Comcast’s competitors in the supply of content or TV channels would be at risk from customer foreclosure. The Commission concluded that neither of these theories of harm amounted to viable competition concerns. RBB advised Comcast alongside lawyers Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.
RBB Economics marked out as ‘best in class’ for performance in Economics & Regulatory category 26.06.18
Based on in-depth analysis from analytics company WhoKnowsAbout, who assessed the consulting capabilities of around 1,200 consulting firms with more than 20 employees across 15 industry and 15 functional topic areas to compile a ranking of the top 10 global consulting firms by industry and service expertise, Consultancy.uk writes:
“The expertise of RBB Economics, which understandably specialises in economic consulting, saw the firm celebrated for the Economics & Regulatory category.”
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Court overturns CMA decision on excessive pricing 08.06.18
On Thursday 7 June, the UK Competition Appeals Tribunal (“CAT”) set aside the CMA’s 2016 decision which had determined that Pfizer and Flynn breached competition law by charging unfair prices for phenytoin sodium capsules. The CAT found that the CMA had “not correctly apply the legal test for finding that prices were unfair; it did not appropriately consider what was the right economic value for the product at issue; and it did not take sufficient account of the situation of other, comparable, products”. RBB acted for Pfizer throughout the CMA investigation and the appeal. The court found that RBB’s written evidence in expert testimony put forward by Derek Ridyard was “clear and persuasive”.
RBB expert testifies in interest rate manipulation case in Australia 25.05.18
RBB provided expert testimony in the Federal Court in Melbourne in November 2017 in relation to allegations from ASIC that Westpac manipulated the Bank Bill Swap Rate. An RBB team led by Simon Bishop and supported by George Siolis and Chris Whelan produced two expert reports responding to both ASIC’s allegations and expert reports produced for ASIC. A key point of disagreement was on whether the econometric analysis presented by Professor Putnins, one of ASIC’s experts, could be used to determine effects of the alleged manipulation. During the hearing, Simon Bishop testified in two hot tubs with experts acting for ASIC and was cross-examined on his expert evidence. The Federal Court judge Justice Jonathan Beach found that ASIC failed to show the trades amounted to market manipulation. Justice Beach agreed with Mr Bishop’s analysis on most points. The judgement is available here.